I wasn’t going to write about Cinderella.
As much as I loved the film and the story (it was my favorite growing up) and the message, I wasn’t really feeling a huge connection with The Dudes.
Sure, they enjoyed it, despite being some of the few non princesses in our showing, but they didn’t seem to leave with any extreme enthusiasm over the flick. They liked the magical elements, they enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t overrun with singing interludes, they didn’t remark even once on the beauty of the costumes, they thought the prince, and this guy who announced us when we arrived at this event were cool…
It was for sure a fun way to spend a Saturday morning, but overall, they weren’t as pumped in the post movie car ride home as they were after, say, Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, our after movie car ride didn’t address the plot one bit as it instead centered around why Cinderella had brown eyebrows with yellow hair (I don’t know honestly, it happens sometimes?!).
Fast forward to Monday afternoon.
Earlier this winter, Dude 2, decided that he would go out for lacrosse this spring. He’s never even picked up a lacrosse stick before or watched a match on TV, but his friends were playing and, never one to be intimidated by new athletic experiences, he asked me to sign him up.
I attempted to discourage him. I tried bribery. He remained stalwart. I waited until the last possible second, but as per usual, he won, and I did.
Two months and about $400 later (the registration fees and all of the equipment, including some used items and a stick we were gifted) we learned that, based on his age, he has to play in a semi-competitive league meaning, there would be evaluations (not quite like tryouts because every one will be placed on a team, but still meant to determine your skill and ability for placement purposes).
Needless to say, he was feeling quite anxious about the experience.
As he was prepping his items to leave on Monday, I overheard the following conversation from my perpetual station in the kitchen…
Dude 3: What’s wrong? Are you scared?
Dude 2: Yeah. Kind of. I just don’t want to be the worst at it.
Dude 3: You won’t be, you’re fast.
Dude 2: It’s not just about being fast though. There is throwing and catching and I don’t know what to do out there.
Dude 3: You will be good. Just remember what Cinderella said, “Have courage and be kind.”
Dude 2: No one will know if I’m kind.
Dude 3: You will know.
Wise and powerful words from a seven year old. And, upon hearing them, I did what any sensible mother would do: I ran in the room and tackle hugged them.
I reassured Dude 2 that he would be fine, especially if he listened to Dude 3 (and Cinderella) and then I thanked Dude 3 with a thousand yucky kisses all over his face for being such a special little boy and a wonderful brother.
I came home immediately after evaluations and wrote this post.
To encourage you to take your children, princes and princesses, to see Cinderella.
And to remind you that words, whether or not you even notice them, have a powerful impact on your children.
They are perceptive and insightful and way more intelligent than they are often given credit for. But beautifully, they are also open and malleable and innocent and free in a sense. Free of judgment and free of the wearing that time and experience seem to have on the human soul. They haven’t been tainted by the world and made cynical by experience. They are in a magical place where we can pour good things into them and mold them with hugs and love and faith and guidance in such a way that there is still hope for a beautiful future.
Of course I know there is more to it than that, and that all of the things Cinderella depicts aren’t meant to be a part of today’s world (I know, big strong man saves helpless pretty chick). But I’m focusing on what my children gleaned from the film; how they were positively impacted by the message of it. And, I maintain hope. Hope that when we experience these moments between our children we are reminded of our power and our opportunity. Hope that being reminded will also result in action.
It saddens me that all children don’t get to live in this position for long and that all parents don’t use their power for good, but instead for evil.
It saddens me that we don’t spend more time on supporting and uplifting each other.
It saddens me that some people care more about if you breastfeed or work out of the home or homeschool or cloth diaper. Or if you give your kids organic vegetables or let them have ice cream on Saturday nights. Or if you lost all of your baby weight or still carry it around because sleeping feels better than crunches. And that so much time is spent arguing over the not-really-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things-because-your-wiggly-belly-and-formula-will-not-make-the-world-a-terrible-or-better-place things.
Courage and kindness may not solve all of the world’s problems, but it’s a darn great place to start.
Thank you Disney for reminding me of that.